A study on the nature of care given to children living with HIV/AIDS in children's homes in Nairobi, Kenya
Mutuvi, Mwikali Kavutha
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HIV/AIDS is a public health concern worldwide. In Kenya, there are approximately 2.2 million Kenyan infected with HIV/AIDS. UNAIDS estimates that 5-10% of the existing HIV/AIDS case are children below 14 years of age and that there are currently 1.6 million children orphaned by HIV/AIDS in the country. The Kenyan social and community structures has institutions that provide care and support to these orphaned and vulnerable children. These institutions include childrens' homes and orphanages that provide nutritional, medical, psychosocial and physical care to the orphaned and vulnerable children. The institutions need to care for the children totally in each aspect of care. Despite this, there is scanty information on the institutional care provided to the CLWHA. A cross-sectional study was carried out in five childrens' homes in Nairobi that care for CLWHA. The general objective of the study was to determine the care given to children living with HIV/AIDS in the childrens' homes in Nairobi and specifically to determine the medical care and nutritional care given; and to determine the relationship between the medical and nutritional care provided and the childrens' health status. Qualitative data was obtained from key informant interviews and desk reviews while quantitative data was obtained from the pre-tested structured questionnaires. Results showed that double orphans formed the biggest proportion (91%) of CLWHA in homes and finance was the major (100%) challenge in managing most of the homes and all (100%) of the children (n = 133) had regular medical attention. There were associations between medical attention and incidence of opportunistic infections like fot Tuberculosis, there was a significant relationship between its incidence and intake of some ARV's like Zidovudile. Lamuvidine and 3TC (Fishers = 0.01; df =1), c2 =13.37, p=0.000, df=1) and ( c2=16.97, p=0.000, df=1) respectively. Children who receive medical care were less likely to have opportunistic infections. Diarrhoea incidence was independent of the administration of ARVs to the CLWHA. Skin infections were common among children using ARVs. Out of the 13 ARV's administered, use of six of them (46%) had a positive significant relationship to the incidence of skin infections as compared to only 20% of the ARV's having significant relationship to the incidence of oral thrush and none of the ARV's having significant relationship of the incidence of diarrhoea. This concluded that management of diarrhoea would best be handled nutritionally. It is surmised that skin infection was caused by some of the ARVs. The overall picture indicates that ARVs were less likely to cultimate with gain in body weight and therefore that nutrition plays a more significant role in decreasing the incidence of disease among CLWHA as compared to the role ARV's play. The government needs to put up policies in place that will ensure that those taking care of CLWHA pay greater emphasis to the childrens nutrition status in order to boost their immune system thus preventing incidences of opportunistic infections and diseases. There is also need for the government to have all homes register with them and the government officials visit the homes and ensure the care and support given to the CLWHA is specific to their needs and meets the children's needs.
- MST-Zoological Sciences